It is estimated that between 6 –10 million migrants and refugees are disabled, although accurate figures are difficult to obtain. Whatever the exact number, it is known that there is a substantial minority of people with disabilities in the population of migrants globally. The challenges imposed by flight and exile are increased for disabled migrants both while they are on the move or living in insecure settings. Factors, such as lack of access to nutrition, medical care or medications, loss of access to routine support networks, increased risk of harm or exploitation, limited availability of support aids and the difficulties of extreme conditions of travel and inadequate shelter, all contribute significantly greater challenges faced by disabled migrants and refugees.
This data briefing, produced by IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, aims to bring greater attention to the need for data on disabled people within migrant populations. All people living with disabilities, whether migrants or not, have particular rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The briefing reviews the accepted definitions of disability and illustrates specific challenges faced by migrants in this diverse category. It also highlights gaps in the data and research on this topic, and offers general recommendations from what is already known